General Motors: The Wheels Are Coming Off the Cart(s)

Literally.

Perhaps the grammatically incorrect name was a factor.

A 2011 Chevy Cruze (unfortunately, sic) was tooling down the highway at 65 miles per hour. In it was a grandmother, her daughter and her 19-month old grandson.

Suddenly, the steering wheel just fell off the steering column – left dangling only by a small patch of wires. Thankfully, the trio somehow managed to swerve to a stop just inches from the roadway guardrail.

All told, about 2,100 Cruzes (Cruzae?) have been recalled for… shall we say – overly tilt-steering.

This mechanical problem serves as a structural metaphor for General Motors (GM)’s ongoing decline. Which is now becoming entrenched under the government stewardship of federal Car Czar – I mean Chief Executive Officer – Dan Akerson.

And this was all, sadly, quite predictable.

From the October 2008 moment the $49.9 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) federal coin landed in GM’s bereft bank accounts, the transformation to Government Motors was made – and the failure dye was cast.

With Akerson’s September 2010 assumption of GM’s top spot, disaster was assured.

As we have oft-documented, Akerson is woefully ill-equipped to run a car company. He is – by his own admission – not a car guy.

He is instead a telecom guy who then transitioned into the uber-connected, uber-profitable rarified air of the D.C.-Wall Street nexus – as Managing Director and head of Global Buyout for the Carlyle Group.

Again, not the guy you’d choose to restore General Motors to fiscal prosperity.

Akerson is, however, the perfect guy to establish Government Motors as an entity dedicated first and foremost not to profitable policies – but to ideological ones. The cardboard cutout to do the bidding of his federal government masters.

Government Motors now exists to use taxpayer money and GM infrastructure to engage in Leftist sociopolitical nonsense.

And at this absurd new mission, Akerson is thus far doing a bang up job (no steering wheels pun intended).

Government Motors now only makes redline, subprime loans on their cars. The same global economy-devastating loans that government entities Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae made (and continue to make) on houses.

Again, GM owes We the People $50 billion, so that’s ultimately our money with which they are playing.

GM is now fully dedicated to producing their completely unprofitable electric vehicle – the 40 mile (or less) per 8-hour charge Chevy Volt.

Which costs $41,000 to make. And retails for… $41,000.

Of which they sold a whopping 1,536 in the first three months of this year. And reached that anemic total only with a $7,500 per car bribe to grease the skids.

Again, GM owes We the People $50 billion, so that’s ultimately our money with which they are playing.

As if that wasn’t a bad enough deal for us, GM is now seeking to convert the “incentives” into direct cash payments from the federal government.

This change can be found not only in President Barack Obama’s budget but also a bill proposed by Senator Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat.

Sweet. (Both of these folks, by the way, are up for reelection in 2012 – please, mark your calendars.)

No profit? No problem. Government Motors plans to add an electric Buick and an electric Cadillac to their earnings-free car line.

In true federal government “stimulus” bill fashion, GM is spending $100 million on four product lines for fuel- efficient car and truck engines – of the unprofitable Chevy Volt sort – to create (or save?)… thirty jobs.

That’s more than $3.3 million per job – to manufacture cars on which they’ve already proven they can’t make money.

Excellent.

Again, no profit – no problem: Government Motors is going all-in – it received more clean energy patents in the past year than any other U.S. company.

Nothing like locking down as many insolvent ideas as possible.

With all of this underway and in mind, Cardboard Cutout Akerson somehow manages to say:

“Our risk profile today is much less risky than it was before.”

Want to bet? Wait, scratch that – it’s our money on both sides of the wager.

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